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Elderly care in focus for new 5G technology

Published: 11 May 2021

At a retirement home in Övertorneå, Luleå University of Technology has opened Sweden's northernmost test bed for 5G. The purpose of the test environment is to facilitate the use of new technology in the care and nursing area. The first two innovations to be tested is a video conferencing system and a robot for digital home care.

– We hope that the test environment will stimulate innovation and new ideas, that companies will have the opportunity to test and demonstrate groundbreaking 5G-based products and services that can contribute to better and more quality care, says Karl Andersson, Professor of Pervasive and Mobile Computing and project manager for 5G för vård och omsorg i Övre Norrland.

Safe and fast

Initially, there are two companies that will test their technical solutions in Övertorneå. The Luleå company Compodium will test a video communications solution, Vidicue, used in care contacts and the care company Camanio will test a supervision robot that makes virtual visits to residents. 5G can contribute with a secure and fast connection, two factors that are extra important when human interaction takes place via technology.

– We are used to testing and implementing welfare technology in the area of health and care. 5G gives us the opportunity to test new technology in a safe way, technology that aims to allow our users to maintain or increase their security, activity, participation and independence, says Aina Bleikvassli, e-coordinator at Övertorneå municipality.

Increased quality of life

The test bed in Övertorneå has been developed in close collaboration with Telia. The test bed and investments such as the one in Övertorneå are important catalysts for the development of new services in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities 5G offers for both people and society.

– The 5G network in Övertorneå is the first in an environment like this. Together with the municipality, the region, Luleå University of Technology and local technology companies, we get the opportunity to explore how new digital aids can help healthcare to work smarter and contribute to increased quality of life for the elderly, says Magnus Leonhardt, Innovation Manager Telia Sweden.

For Region Norrbotten, 5G can contribute with innovative solutions in a sparsely populated county.

– New 5G innovations are important for tomorrow's smart services for digital care, not least for places outside urban areas. In a county as large as Norrbotten, it can compensate for the increased strain on health and care services that an aging population entails, says Staffan Lundberg, regional digitization coordinator at Region Norrbotten.